The Twitter Followers Playbook
Twiends has been helping people grow their twitter audiences since 2009. Over this time we have learned a thing or two about twitter promotion. Are you looking for ideas on how to get started? Below is our playbook with over 50 promotion methods you can use today! They are sorted based on popularity.
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Run a follow contest
A follow contest is a great way to get free twitter followers, as users are required to follow you to enter. Try and make your prize related to your brand, as this will naturally target people interested in your niche. Be sure to read twitter's rules on contests first.
Follow users with similar interests
When you come across a tweet that you like enough to engage with, then consider following the other users who have done the same. There's a high chance that you have the same interests and they may choose to follow you back.
Follow those that follow your top followers
Identify your top followers i.e. those that have the same interests as you and engage with your tweets the most. Then scan their followers and follow those that look interesting. There may be some overlap of interests with these 'secondary' followers as they are consuming your tweets via your top followers.
Hashtags are a way to thread tweets together from different users. Tagging your posts with a topical hashtag can help people find and notice your tweets. Watch how the most popular users in your niche are using hashtags, and follow by their example.
Reply to popular users
If you have something interesting to say, then @reply to the tweets from popular users. This may elicit a response from them, but more importantly it will include your tweet in the replies section of that tweet. Target tweets that are interesting and only receive a handful of replies usually.
Tweet inspirational content
Not all content needs to be in your target niche. Use a content discovery app to get daily content that is inspirational, funny, or entertaining in some way. Tweet some of this out every now and then. This content tends to get retweeted and will increase your reach. Note that there is a shift away from using quotes though.
Put your twitter link everywhere
This means online and offline, everywhere you can put it. Link to twitter from your blog, from your guest posts, from your videos, in your email signature, and anywhere else you can think of, including facebook, instagram, etc. Include your username on your offline materials as well, from business cards t-shirts. This is one of the easiest ways to get free twitter followers passively.
List yourself in directories
There are plenty of directories online. Try to find people listings that target your niche. If you can't find one then create your own listing. They're usually free to add yourself, but they will sometimes require a manual process of reaching out to a site owner or page author.
Improve your profile picture
As you increase your reach and are seen by more people, your profile picture may be the only thing they see. Make a good first impression with a profile picture that stands out from the crowd. Show your personality, use some color, and make sure people can see your face or brand clearly.
Retweet the right stuff
Popular users love getting retweets. Some may even interact with you afterwards. Make sure to retweet stuff that you feel would be interesting to your audience or add value to their day. This is a good way to build substance as a curator of interesting info.
Reach out to peers
This is slightly different than reaching out to an influencer. Here your goal is to reach out to someone in your niche with similar or slightly higher influence than yourself. You should try to break the ice by featuring them in your content, commenting on their stuff, and building visibility. They may follow you naturally over time, or you may need to include them in an initiative.
Tweet to those you've written about
If you publish good content that features someone then send them a tweet notifying them about it. People love to read about themselves, and they're very likely to retweet if it is positive. Some of them may even follow you back.
Join twitter chats
Twitter chats happen on a regular basis for many topics. They are identified with a #hashtag and are open to all to participate. Find chats that include people in your target audience and get involved. There is some etiquette involved, so do some research before getting started.
Retweet important news
This is quick and easy to do, but don't go overboard. You don't want to be a newsfeed, you just want to put the most interesting stories out there. Try and stick to topical news, or items very relevant to your field. This is a great way to insert your voice into the conversation and show substance as a curator.
Reply to @mentions of you
When people @reply to your tweets or @mention you then respond positively. Maybe this involves taking a conversation further or just showing some wit, but it will create more conversation threads for people to stumble across. Of course, feel free to ignore the spam.
Interact with others
Twitter is not a broadcast medium like TV or radio, it is a broadcast AND interaction medium. Think of it more like a presentation or show, with plenty of audience participation. Like an entertainer on stage doing 'improv' with your audience, or a teacher fielding questions from students. On twitter this means replying, commenting and mentioning others as much as you can.
Tag influential people
If you're attending a conference, then take a photo of the presenter on stage and post it to twitter. Try to make it relevant and pick a concept out of the talk that is worth sharing. Remember to tag the tweet with their username. There's a good chance they'll retweet you, especially if they are not famous already!
Schedule your tweets
Tweeting regularly is important for keeping your followers engaged. Engagement also has the secondary benefit of increasing your exposure to new potential followers. Find the times of day that lead to the highest engagement and schedule your tweets around those times.
Some websites with active twitter communities allow you to feature yourself. Twiends is a good example, having pioneered this approach since 2009. Find websites with communities that you like and pay to feature yourself. Beware of websites offering to sell you followers (eg. $5 for 1000 followers), these are fake and can result in suspension.
Write a guest blog
Maintaining a blog can be hard, so people will often accept guest posts if they are well written. You may have to build up a small portfolio of written work before starting your outreach, but you'll usually find some takers. This is a great way to demonstrate substance, and to link back to your twitter profile.
Tweet the right content
What do the leaders in your niche tweet the most about? Which of their tweets get the most engagement? Start to build a list and try and replicate their practice, using your own unique content, voice and personality. There are many tools that allow you to analyse this now.
Run a webinar
Webinars are essentially online learning events similar to real-world seminars. The advantage of webinars is that they can be recorded and posted online. They are a fantastic way to show your expertise, and can net you some of your most engaged and loyal followers. Entice the audience to follow you by offering more follow-up info via twitter.
Reach out to influencers
This is hard work but incredibly powerful. Identify the people in your niche that get good engagement on their tweets. Reach out to them with a clear and concise value proposition: Offer them something of value to share some of your content with their followers. Try and break the ice over a few weeks by featuring them in some of your content, sharing their stuff, or getting a third party to introduce you.
Live-tweet an event or show
If you have access to an event and are able to provide value-added commentary about it then live-tweet it. Announce that you'll be live tweeting to your followers so that they can either tune-in or tune-out. Use a #hashtag to thread the tweets together, and try capture the best ideas, quotes and thoughts from the event.
Comment on news
Attach yourself to things that are happening now and relevant to your audience. This can be a follow-up to news you've retweeted, or just some thoughts about something that's happening. You don't have to break the news to be a part of it.
Improve your bio
For some people the decision to follow you is made when they read your bio. Make sure your bio says who you are and what you know, but try and do it in a humble or quirky way. Don't call yourself an 'expert' or 'guru', let your tweets communicate that for you. Try and get across that you have some value to add in your niche.
Embed your tweets
It's very easy to embed your timeline or a single tweet on a website these days. If you have a blog then use the twitter embed tool to place your tweets on it, especially those that are topical to your posts. You can also get your tweets embedded on someone else's website, especially if you do them a favor and create some content for them.
Speak at conferences
It's not that hard to get a speaking slot at a conference, especially if you have some skills. They come in all shapes and sizes. Have you got a great piece of online work or videos already in circulation? Well offer to present a short summary of it at a local event. Start there, grow bigger, and be sure to mention your twitter handle once or twice.
Advertise on twitter
One of the most effective ways to promote yourself is on twitter itself. They offer solutions for promoting your profile, your tweets, or your other assets. Each method allows you to target a slightly different form of engagement. This is really powerful when used in combination with another initiative, such as running a contest.
Blog about your twitter account
If you have your own blog, write a post about your twitter account. Post about how you like twitter, how you hate twitter, who you follow, etc. Make sure to mention your twitter account (and suggest that people follow you) at least once in the article.
Host a tweetup
Tweetups allow you the opportunity to connect with twitter users in person. You can host them at your local coffee shop, restaurant or conference. Use a hashtag to thread the event and announce it many days before to your twitter followers. You may need to offer to pay for the coffee if just starting out!
Create twitter lists
Lists are a useful way to group people by topic. You can see all the recent tweets from people in a list without having to follow them all. It also signals to these people that you find them relevant, and they may in turn engage with you. Others may also find the lists useful and follow you or the list in turn. You can also add yourself to the lists too.
Join a local networking event
Small business owners and other groups often organize local networking events. They may just be weekly meetings where everyone gets 5 mins to talk about their niche, or they could be larger with outside speakers giving presentations. Make sure your twitter username is on your business card, as you'll be handing this out a lot.
Run a photo contest
If you have a product, idea, or concept that is visually appealing, then a photo contest may be perfect for you. People enter by posting a photo on twitter, so their visuals will be your voice. This works especially well if you have a loyal audience already. You can also ask people to enter using your pre-selected photo's.
Post a video tutorial
People love to watch video's. For many it's their preferred route for learning something new. Some people have difficulty learning from written guides, and prefer to learn from content that is easier to absorb. Creating video tutorials for your area of expertise is a great way to get 'relevant' exposure for yourself.
Write a book/eBook
Few things communicate expert status like being a published author. Print titles can carry more clout, but eBooks are growing in popularity too. Self-publishing is an option, or you could try a traditional publishing house. Either way, get it out there, and you will be demonstrating your substance in bucket loads.
Offer deals in store to followers
Never underestimate the power of your bricks and mortar locations, especially in the retail space. This is a great place to offer deals and incentives to visitors to get them to follow you on twitter.
Do a radio interview
These are great for showing substance and personality, whether that be for entertainment, expertise, or news. Don't be afraid to consider AM/FM, satellite or online stations. Make yourself available as an expert, local entertainer, or commentator, and reach out to some stations to see if they have any upcoming opportunities.
Add twitter to your address labels
Address labels are an advertising and branding opportunity. Include your twitter information right on the outside of your packages and envelopes! If you are already doing this with your logo and other info then it shouldn't cost any more.
Run a tweet contest
Tweet contests are good for expanding your reach to new people. They work well if you already have an engaged audience and want to reach their followers. They require that people send a tweet or retweet to enter, so they should be coupled with good content that their followers will find interesting. Again, make sure you read twitter's rules on contests first.
Write a magazine article
Magazine articles are a great medium for explaining things in depth and demonstrating your substance. Try to find the list of topics that your favorite mag will be covering in future issues, and reach out to the editor if you feel you can contribute.
Become a book contributor
Some authors may not be able to fully cover all the topics in their upcoming book. You may be able to help them out with a chapter or two. They may be especially open to this if you offer to promote the book jointly with them once it's published. This is a great way to be listed as a contributor or co-author, and to demonstrate your knowledge in a specific field.
Improve your username
Please don't use profanity in your username, it will turn people off. And keep the numbers to a minimum. It doesn't have to match your name, but consider using something that people can easily remember and type into google if required. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and make it memorable.
Do a podcast
Podcasting is a great way to showcase your expertise and gather an audience. A podcast is much like a blog, but it is recorded audio instead of written words. You can create your own podcast, or be featured or interviewed on a popular podcast. Either way, make sure you mention your username at least twice during your podcast, including once right at the end.
Do support through twitter
Now, we're not suggesting you throw away your helpdesk, but add twitter as a support channel. You may find that users are already tweeting questions at you. Most good helpdesk software already offers twitter integration.
Become a forum moderator
Consider becoming a moderator on a community website in your niche. These are usually forums but could take other forms as well. You can usually add your twitter info to your bio, or possibly even your post signatures. If you are helpful and active you can gain many supporters through this effort.
Host a debate
Debates can be formal or informal, and can often elicit a passionate response from participants. They're also a great carrot when doing outreach to influencers in your niche. Get some of them involved on two opposing sides of a debate and take the role of moderator or participant yourself. This gives you context and allows you to reach their followers.
Research and publish a report
Reports and white papers are still an essential form of communication for industries and markets around the globe. If you have any data or research to share, or even just helpful ideas, publishing a report or whitepaper can successfully get you the attention of industry leaders, media, and social media.
Add twitter to your company vehicles
You will typically add your company name, website and logo to your vehicles. Consider adding your twitter too.
Do a twitter poll
Twitter polls are an interesting way to get engagement from new users. In effect you are letting your audience create your content for you through their votes. Some users who vote in a poll will retweet it too, allowing you to reach their followers. Some will also receive a notification when the poll ends, allowing you to reach them again.
Write a feature column
If you have the dedicated time, offering to write a feature column for a magazine or newspaper will not only assist the editor with their workload but give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise week-in, week-out.
Add twitter to your packaging
If you ship products then you should add twitter to your packaging. Even put a leaflet inside with an incentive to following you on twitter. People are usually happy to receive their new stuff, so try and acquire them on twitter at the same time.
Add twitter to your checks
An often overlooked branding opportunity is the company checks. Custom check companies should allow you to include your twitter username on your checks.
Add some swag
Promos, gifts, swag, or whatever you call it. If you're giving this stuff out then make sure your twitter username is on it. This is one way to get free twitter followers just by giving stuff away.
Run a print ad
Print ads are one of the more expensive forms of advertising available to small businesses today, so every time you invest in that type of advertising you need to maximize your return. A great way to do this is to include your twitter username in the ad.
Tweet interesting photos
Research has shown that tweeted photo's can substantially increase engagement from followers. This is a great way to get your message passed on by your followers to their followers, thereby increasing your reach. Make sure your feed contains a healthy stream of shareable visuals.